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ACORN Exposed: Take Five

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ACORN has received over $53 million of federal funds since 1994 and stands to get $8.4 billion more tax dollars in the near future and this past week we have been enlightened to certain ways that our taxpayer dollars are at work.

The “ACORN Exposed” videos came from James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles who went undercover to expose the dirty deeds of ACORN this past summer. When the first two videos hit the airwaves last week, Blogcritics was on top of the story, “In both cases, O’Keefe and Giles “presented himself as a pimp and his associate Hannah Giles as a prostitute looking for assistance in qualifying to get a federal low income loan so that they could purchase a house to use as a brothel to which they would be bringing underage Salvadoran girls smuggled into the country illegally to work as prostitutes.”

These two "undercover videos" came out of the Baltimore and D.C. offices of ACORN and a third video hit the news focusing on the ACORN office in New York, which for the most part exposed what the first two had, “employees eager to assist him in committing and covering up multiple crimes, including tax fraud, prostitution, human trafficking and defrauding the federal government.”

ACORN has been under investigation for voter fraud in several states and the fallout over these videos has been interesting, to say the least, with ACORN responding in a variety of ways, whereas the Baltimore City Attorney’s office has threatened to press charges against the two filmmakers, O’Keefe and Giles. After the third video was released, the Senate passed (with a 83-7 vote) an amendment to “strip” ACORN of federal funding for housing and a statement by Senator Shelby followed, "While this vote is important, it is limited in scope and we must know more. It is imperative that we proceed immediately to investigate what appears to be ACORN’s stunning disregard for the law and abuse of taxpayer funds. Such an investigation would serve as the basis for determining not only whether ACORN is worthy of receiving other federal funds this year, but ever again.”

While ACORN has announced that it will launch its own internal investigation, the White House has called the ACORN employees’ “behavior unacceptable”, but have yet to launch their own investigation.

The show continues as two more videos were unleashed, this time from the West Coast, California offices, San Bernardino and San Diego. San Bernardino ACORN employee not only gave advice on how to run a brothel and was proud to utter that Heidi Fleiss (the Hollywood Madam) is her role model, she claimed that “she shot her husband." After her starring role in this ACORN undercover video was made public, she downplayed her story by saying she was merely attempting to “shock them as they were shocking me”.

Late last night, video five was released to Sean Hannity of Fox News revealing the deeds of the San Diego office. In this video the ACORN employee shares that the “best place to smuggle under age girls into the United States is from Tijuana because he has connections there”.

Yesterday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed in on this ongoing controversy and sent a letter to California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. urging an investigation into ACORN’s activities in California, stating, “I have seen a series of news stories regarding the ACORN organization that have concerned me greatly”.

Breaking news today ––20 states are calling for a full investigation of ACORN, the House is debating cutting funds for this organization, and the FBI is consulting with Department of Justice, yet the details have yet to be released. Will O’Keefe and Giles (BigGovernment.com), “be back” with more videos? Will Congress continue to be a “girly-man” in their handling of ACORN? Will Schwarzenegger’s “muscle” matter? Will the demands of Senator Shelby and others be heard, with a complete investigation materializing? If they do examine the entire ACORN community organization, what will they expose? Will all federal funds for ACORN be “terminated”? Stay tuned!

About Christine Lakatos

  • Earl

    did you get the BREAKING NEWS TODAY that the San Bernardino video was fake?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Earl –

    I don’t think she did. You see, fact-checking (such as to whether a woman actually did shoot her husband) isn’t real high on Fox’s list of priorities…and I guess Christine didn’t see any of the other networks or websites that pointed out the woman’s story was fake. Those other networks and websites are too left-wing, you see….

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    I did post that she CLAIMED and I reported her response that she was doing it IT FOR SHOCK. Did you read the entire article?

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    San Bernardino ACORN organizer Tresa Kaelke,…by saying she was merely attempting to “shock them as they were shocking me”.

  • Earl

    “After her starring role in this ACORN undercover video was made public, she downplayed her story”

    That’s rather different from noting that SBPD says she’d never had a husband who died so the story was clearly false, don’t you think? Instead you continue to suggest that there was some credence to the video.

    Seems that YOU’RE the one now “downplay[ing] her story.”

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Earl, good point but it was her story in her own words, not mine or Fox News or anyone else for that matter. And I said it was a “staring role” which implies acting… where she claimed to have shot her husband. Also if I was going to be misleading I would of left out her response all together.

    Plus my focus was not on her not-dead husband, but maybe for the sake of those that will punch holes in any story, I should of added more details. But then again, critics on BC would accuse me of being too long winded as they have in the past.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yep, seems like it, Earl. Christine doesn’t report that the video is a proven falsehood, only that the individual in it downplayed her “story” after the fact.

    More political expedience at the expense of the facts. As I’ve stated elsewhere, it seems the Right is in such a hurry to criticize and nail this group that they’re willing to do anything to get the job done even if it means presenting “evidence” obtained questionably so that it will have little actual weight in a court of law.

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Who cares if the husband is dead or alive? It’s obvious she didn’t know she was being fished out for a starring role.

    There are two things that could possibly account for the ACORN workers acting as they did, 1. they were trained indirectly or directly to pitch to the “customer” in the manner, or 2. they’re run by a bunch of people who don’t know any better.

    Either way, it’s bad. I don’t want my tax dollars going to pay for an obviously corrupt and potentially inept outfit like this one.

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Jordan how is the video a proven falsehood? What is false is that this woman lied about killing her husband. Now you are being misleading.

    This is from Media Matters….

    ACORN worker, who claimed she murdered her husband and gave advice on how to run a brothel, but stated after the video was released that she had merely been attempting to “shock them as much as they were shocking me.”

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s obvious she didn’t know she was being fished out for a starring role.

    Even though she said otherwise? How is it obvious, even with her claim to “shock them as much as they were shocking me?”

    Jordan how is the video a proven falsehood? What is false is that this woman lied about killing her husband. Now you are being misleading.

    Fine. What’s on the video is a proven falsehood (the woman’s claims).

    By all means, let’s investigate this. I’ve been saying the same thing in the other thread on the topic. But let’s investigate this properly. Along with the questions you dutifully ask at the conclusion of this fine piece, Christine, what about the following:

    1. Were the tapes obtained legally? How would they stand up as part of a federal investigation?

    2. Where can one see the full, unedited tapes?

    3. Why did FOX News report the claim of the woman killing her husband without fact-checking at all like any reputable journalistic group would?

    4. How can a case be made regarding corruption for a whole organization when such a small sample out of the 1,200 outlets reveals instances of potential corruption and wrongdoing?

    5. How do you prove that the other employees were not also speaking for “shock value” and saw right through the rather obvious subterfuge of Giles and O’Keefe’s ridiculous Halloween costumes?

    6. How do you account for ACORN’s claims that O’Keefe and Giles have been at this for months attempting to get the results they were looking for?

    7. How do you account for Giles’ involvement in the whole thing stemming from her “jogging” past an ACORN office, not knowing who they were at all, and deciding, on that basis, that she didn’t “like them?” How do you account for such a predetermined prejudice without evidence on behalf of one of the main participants in the “sting?”

  • Jordan Richardson

    There are two things that could possibly account for the ACORN workers acting as they did, 1. they were trained indirectly or directly to pitch to the “customer” in the manner, or 2. they’re run by a bunch of people who don’t know any better.

    There are more than two possibilities, Joanne, and you know that.

    For instance, 3. they saw right through the subterfuge and were having a little fun, only to discover afterwards that they were on tape, 4. they’d seen these two clowns before and word made it around the offices that they were coming, so they elected to toy with them, 5. they never took the situation seriously, to their own peril

  • Julie

    I’m not sure what you were watching, but all of the videos I saw were ACORN employees being incredibly sarcastic and mocking the sad impersonation of Dan Akroyd from Trading Places. They tried to edit the videos so that you wouldn’t catch the sarcasm, but if you have actually lived in DC or Baltimore, you would know from first hand experience that politeness and helpfulness is extremely rare in public services…and they were being extremely polite and helpful (if you failed to catch the sarcasm). What is surprising is how incredibly delusional ACORN employees were for playing along with the routine. They should have been trained to deal with unwanted customers.

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Jordan, that is why I asked the questions at the end, who the heck knows what is really going on in ACORN, but until we have a REAL investigation, we will never know!

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    By the way they just voted in the House on the “ACORN defunding bill” and it passed (345 to 75). We will see what happens in the Senate and then to the Pres.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Who cares if the husband is dead or alive?”

    I am guessing the husband, his family, the police, etc.

    “It’s obvious she didn’t know she was being fished out for a starring role.”

    What is more obvious is she was stringing the kids along. All I have seen evidence of his ACORN people giving two bad actors advice about potential illegal activities. Unless there’s evidence of this happening to others, I don’t see what the issue is other than people hating ACORN and looking for any way they can to tear them done.

    “I don’t want my tax dollars going to pay for an obviously corrupt and potentially inept outfit like this one.”

    You mean like the Bush Administration?

  • Arch Conservative

    Hmm this woman was playing the part of a crazy lady so we should completely ignore the other four videos where Acorn endorsed child prostitution and tax evasion..

    Makes sense!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    No, no one said ignore them. Feel free to investigate, but unlike some, I prefer people to be proven guilty of something as opposed to ill-informed mob rule led by agenda-driven partisans. What crimes have been committed exactly? And of course, no one here has ever attempted to evade paying taxes they owed.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Joanne, you probably don’t want your money going to Halliburton/KBR either where a contractor alleged she was gang raped by her co-workers in Iraq and then imprisoned in a shipping container after she reported the attack to the company.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Let’s back her a bit, guys.

    Let’s change the scene just a bit.

    One bright Sunday morning in August, two young, attractive and scantily dressed women walk into Danny’s Life Coaching Studio in Tel Aviv (which gets money from the Ministry of Eduction in Israel as well as charging fees to those he coaches) with plans to kill the security minister. They want “coaching” and advice. Danny is intrigued. the security minister has promised to destroy a number of small Jewish villages in Samaria, where Danny lives, and if someone wants to rub out the bastard, Danny will have no problems.

    Danny, incredibly turned on by the way these women are dressed, doesn’t pay attention to what he ought to have noticed, the small videophone hanging out from the purse of the shorter, less attractive of the two women.

    As they continue to burble on with their plans, Danny realizes that not only don’t they have a clue, but they couldn’t succeed if their lives depended on it. But flattered by their presence and enjoying the show (they are rather scantily dressed for people who would carry bombs), he offers them coffee and leads them on with stories (partly exaggerated) of his adventures with the JDL decades back….

    But before they leave, he tells them not to go ahead with the plan, as he thinks it is premature, and to allow others to consider the thought, telling them to return in two days. As they leave, he takes only half of the NIS 400 fee he planned to charge them, a crisp, red 200 shekel note. They never return, and the phone number they left was disconnected.

    He doesn’t notice as he rides the bus home that Tuesday that people are glancing at him surreptitiously from their seats and whispering to each other. All Wednesday morning he is on the phone with various news outlets wanting to know if he is the Danny of Danny’s Life Coaching Studio where the planned assassination of the security minister was planned out. He is in the process of shutting up shop so he could go to ground and is not at all surprised when two Shaba”k officers, armed to the teeth, show up with the young women to take him into custody for conspiring to assassinate the security minister.

    At their HQ, they show Danny what he should have already seen, but didn’t (he was too busy arguing with friend on Blogcritics) – a Youtube video of him staring bug-eyed at these two women as they describe their plans to rub out the bastard of a security minister he has no use for. The video has been edited somewhat. The part where he tells them not to try the plan has been edited out.

    Should Danny’s Life Coaching Studio lose his funding from the Ministry of Education? Should he ber indicted for conspiring to assassinate the security minister? Should he be convicted for conspiring to assassinate the security minister?

    I’m curious to see your responses….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I have two other questions for you on comment #19: should Danny countersue for entrapment? The young women were not part of ther police, but rather of “Peace Now” and never asked permission to tape Danny in his office.

    Should Danny just be convicted or terminal stupidity? What mook would allow two strangers into his office to discuss the assassination of a cabinet minister, no matter how pretty they were?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Point of clarification. The San Bernardino video is not a fake. The ACORN worker in it claims that she was lying. Not the same thing. And you have then to ask what her motive for lying was.

    As for the suggestion that ALL of the ACORN workers were lying or being sarcastic, it just doesn’t wash. If that were the case someone from ACORN would have made that argument and they didn’t even attempt it. They just fired the people.

    Now we have an investigation – probably more than one. That’s the proper response. If only every organization misusing federal funds were held equally accountable.

    Dave

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Point of clarification. It’s not that she claims she was lying. It’s been proven by the SBPD she didn’t kill her husband. Not the same thing.

  • Cannonshop

    We’ll see what we’ll see. If ACORN loses ANY federal funding (REGARDLESS of the outcome of the investigation) then I’ll be a lot more surprised than if it turns out that the organization is, in fact, running child-sex scams.

    Seriously, I’ll be more shocked if they lose the cash, than if they’re guilty of everything from voter fraud and tax evasion to kiddy-porn distribution. They’re a money-sump and instant-on manpower generator for the Ruling Party-nothing is going to come out of the investigation.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Christine Lakatos writes:

    “ACORN has received over $53 million of federal funds since 1994 and stands to get $8.4 billion more tax dollars in the near future and this past week we have been enlightened to certain ways that our taxpayer dollars are at work.”

    This is another piece of false propaganda with bat wings flying out from the right winged “attack-all-things-even-tangentially-related-to-President-Obama-poor people-and inner-city-minorities” War effort.

    From Politifact:

    “A spokesman from Bachmann’s office said the congresswoman got her data from a May 6, 2009, Washington Examiner commentary written by Kevin Mooney, who got the $8.5 billion figure from Matthew Vadum, a senior analyst and editor with Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank.

    Let’s first look at how they arrived at that number. It includes, of course, the same $2.2 billion that Boehner cited from the stimulus package. Vadum also adds $1 billion in the stimulus for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. ACORN could potentially tap into that, he said.

    The remaining $5.5 billion comes from the Obama administration’s proposed 2010 budget, specifically the budget for Housing and Urban Development. The budget plan includes $1 billion for an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, plus $4.5 billion more for CDBGs.

    CDBGs have been around since 1974. Obama is seeking to increase the CDBG budget from about $3.6 billion in 2009 to $4.2 billion next year. And then there’s the additional $1 billion for CDBGs in the stimulus. But the point is, this isn’t some new pot of money that hasn’t been available in years past. To the extent ACORN has been eligible for CDBG money for decades, it is available to ACORN now.

    But the fact is, ACORN isn’t eligible for CDBG funding. At least not for the controversial voter registration efforts that Republican leaders claim are a willful effort to forward the group’s liberal agenda.

    The BOTTOM LINE:

    “Bottom line, we don’t see any evidence that ACORN Housing has transferred money to ACORN for voter registration, so we think it’s incorrect for Bachmann to link federal money that ACORN Housing might receive with the more controversial voter registration activities performed by sister organization ACORN.

    Even more ridiculous is the suggestion that ACORN or any of its affiliates might actually get $8.5 billion in federal tax dollars.

    Vadum said his report has been misrepresented by many on that point.

    “The key word here is eligible,” Vadum said. “Eligible is a pretty expansive word. I made it clear they are not going to get that full amount.”

    Yes, he made that point in the Washington Examiner. But when Bachmann says ACORN could get that amount, it assumes the group would get every single dime in the stimulus for fixing up abandoned homes. And remember, they said they don’t even have plans to apply for any of it.”

    I made my feelings perfectly clear about this case on this blog before:
    ACORN Exposed in Undercover Video Investigation

    Cobra wrote:

    “Let me make this perfectly clear. I’m aghast that these two part time ACORN workers, one a receptionist, and the other a tax assistant, would act in the inexcusable manner depicted on the obviously edited You Tube clip. If the full, unedited video shows that weren’t simply playing along with these video instigators, then they certainly deserved to get fired, if not worse.
    My problem is that this fixation and consistant attacks on ACORN is IMHO, a thinly veiled attack on President Obama, who had the audacity to spend years of his young life trying to help the poor, downtrodden and disenfranchised in the inner city, sometimes with this organization.

    To give disproportionate coverage of two part time ACORN workers merely “talking about” criminal activity, while giving in comparison, as opposed to the coverage of Blackwater/XE the Mercenaries (founded by White Christian Conservative Son of a Billionaire, Erik Prince) US taxpayers shells out over a billion for…

    …you can easily understand my ire.”

    Christine, I have no idea what your motivation or agenda is writing this blog piece, though it looks similiar to other right winged activist talking points wafting through the blogosphere.

    It apparently UPSETS you to see members of an organization that received $53 million of our “taxpayer dollars” over the past 15 years talking about tax evasion and child prostitution on videotape.

    Fine.

    Then the Congressional inquiries into BLACKWATER should upset you even more, right?

    “Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said Thursday the CIA broke the law by failing to notify Congress about a secret assassination program.

    …”To date, Blackwater has received more than $1.2 billion in government contracts.”

    …”In July 2008, the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration (SBA) released a report that said Blackwater misrepresented the size of its firm so it could receive more than $100 million in small business contracts from the federal government….”

    …”Last December, five Blackwater security guards were indicted on manslaughter charges over the massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

    …”Recently, a Blackwater employee and a former ex-Marine employed by the company in a security capacity said in a sworn affidavit filed Aug. 3 in a federal court in Virginia, that company CEO Erik Prince may have murdered or assisted in the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal law enforcement authorities investigation the company….”

    …”The company was also under federal investigation and was expected to be slapped with nearly $2 million in fines last Novemeber by the State Department for shipping about 900 weapons to law enforcement facilities in Iraq and Jordan without authorization.”

    …”The explosive allegations, which also include claims the company was involved in the distribution of controlled substances, tax evasion, child prostitution, were made in a civil lawsuit filed against Blackwater that charges the company with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations.”

    Christine, could you link me to the blog post where you write about how much Blackwater upsets you? I mean, it surely must…they have people testifying under oath accusing them of not only the same tax evasion and child prostitution merely “discussed” on the Giles/O’Keefe ACORN tapes, but also alleged racketeering, fraud, weapons smuggling, murder and civillian massacres.

    I mean, given your moral outrage about temp workers at ACORN and all….

    –Cobra

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Cobra, (cool pen name): “Then the Congressional inquiries into BLACKWATER should upset you even more, right?” Right!

    While I am deeply irritated by ACORN and feel they should be under a full investigation, from what I know about Blackwater…”dirt bags” of the worst kind!

  • Clavos

    Where is it written that if one is critical of a right wing scandal, one must also be critical of a similar left wing scandal? Or vice versa?

    Nobody on these threads is truly nonpartisan, so what’s the point?

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    The title of this thread is:

    “ACORN Exposed: Take 5″

    Partisanship aside, you would believe that the ACORN issue involved MORE tax dollars, MORE tax evasion, MORE fraud, and MORE child prostitution than the BLACKWATER issue given the amount of coverage and attention it has received.

    As I’ve presented clearly, this is NOT the case.

    That’s why I asked Christine to link me to the blog post where she’s discussed the BLACKWATER issue at length. I’m sure she’s going to write a LONG Blog article discussing BLACKWATER if she hasn’t already, because of there’s so much MORE of the problems she outlined with ACORN involved there.

    Cleared it up any, Clavos?

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    Nope.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    ACORN workers cleared in NYC prostitute video. Looking forward to your addendum to this article.

  • https://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Thanks El, when I complete the article I have been working of for days, I will check into it and an addendum is a good idea. Look forward to your comments too! xo

  • zingzing

    don’t forget to mention the arrest of the guy who made it.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    maybe you and Dave can team up since he needs to update his columns as well

  • Boeke

    At this point the only graceful exit for Christine is to withdraw her original article.